We live in a world driven by instant connections, with ready access to resources previous generations could only dream of. And yet, ignorance and hatred continue to fuel strife and violence all over the world. Be it religion, culture, caste or creed, the human race continues to be its own worst enemy. We like to think that we’ve outgrown the mistakes of our past, that this time around we will correct injustice before it happens, as opposed to retroactively applying a cure to something already diseased.
Last week, I saw a YouTube video that I have not been able to stop thinking about. The video, titled “It Gets Better,” is Google’s attempt to highlight the “It Gets Better Project” spearheaded by media pundit and author Dan Savage. The project started when Dan and his spouse, Terry, posted a video in response to the recent rise in suicides among gay American teenagers. They talked about how they were both heavily bullied in high school but had an incredible time in college and after, found each other, fell in love and even adopted a son and started a family.
Recently, an ad hoc committee consisting of Stanford students and faculty was formed in order to research the merits of the return of ROTC to campus. Last week this committee released a statement supporting the return of ROTC. Section 5.1 of the statement specifically addresses the argument of ROTC’s violation of the nondiscrimination policy.
The past Friday was Day of Silence, a nationwide movement where high school and college students across the country remain silent for the entire day in order to make people aware of the bullying of LGBT youth. I have participated in Day of Silence every year I have been at Stanford. It is an important day for me, every year. Every Day of Silence reminds me of where I come from.
But this week is not the week to get depressed. For me, Transgender Awareness Week is important because it’s a reminder to me that yes, my life has been unconventional, but that doesn’t mean it’s not legitimate, or that it’s not valid — my humanity and masculinity are simply a bit different than the standard deviation. A week like Transgender Awareness Week gives me the opportunity to reflect on myself, to embrace my own identity. It’s a reminder that the transgender community — a community that I am proud to be part of — contributes to the richness and diversity of both the queer and general populations.
So on Saturday I went to San Francisco for the San Francisco Equality Awards, a banquet event in which prominent figures in the LGBT community are honored. A staff member of Equality California, the organization holding the event, had read one of my columns, and she liked it, so she offered me a free ticket to the event. I, always a fan of both free things and LGBT people, certainly obliged to attend the banquet, which would be both free and filled with LGBT folk. It was the perfect combination.
Despite the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT), support for Stanford’s ban on ROTC persists in predictable quarters on campus. The arguments in favor of such a ban are no better than those advanced some four decades ago…
The question of same-sex marriage has entered the federal courtroom, and LGBT activists and marriage protection advocates alike have prepared their factual ammunition for the battle ahead. Caught in the controversy’s whirlwind, political science Prof. Gary Segura testified for a total of nine hours Wednesday and Thursday as an expert witness on political representation.